Black Seeds to play mussel fest
Havelock’s famed mussel festival has booked in the ‘sound of summer’ as organisers push the boat out to attract more out-of-towners.
The Havelock Mussel and Seafood Festival has announced reggae-funk band The Black Seeds will headline at the upcoming festival, one of several new additions.
New festival co-ordinator Hans Neilson says he wants the festival vibe to be ‘‘palpable’’ in the portside town on March 17.
‘‘I want people driving through to say, ‘ wow, what’s going on here?’,’’ Neilson says.
Neilson joins the festival in its 14th year as the committee continues to shake things up after rebranding the event last year, expanding the focus to include seafood as well as mussels.
The town’s former community development adviser says the rebranding is a good opportunity to jazz things up.
‘‘We want it to be the social event of the calendar, and for people from Havelock to walk away feeling proud of hosting the festival. And we’re pretty confident we will do that, but it’s been a lot of hard work.
‘‘This is the first time we’ve had a major act play at the festi- val. We had a good discussion about the sound we wanted, and we wanted it to be a familyfriendly day, for people to enjoy themselves, and it’s an iconic festival so we wanted an iconic Kiwi band.
‘‘We had a few shortlisted, but Black Seeds was always top of the list.’’
Mussel fans will also be able to flex their muscles at the new Strongman and Strongwoman competition, alongside the usual food stalls and mussel shucking competition, Hans says.
A celebrity chef is yet to be confirmed.
An Aquaculture Week is being planned for the days before the festival, though details are still being finalised, Neilson says.
‘‘There will be a Mussel Appreciation Day on the Friday, industry displays and food and drinks, and we’re hoping to bring people from Blenheim and across Marlborough out to celebrate our mussel industry.
‘‘The festival is huge for the industry, they love it, and we want people to get more involved. People who love food, people who love mussels and families after something fun they can take the kids to. There’s something for everyone.’’
The Marlborough District Council has granted $10,000 for the festival through the Commercial Events Fund, which Neilson says is mostly being used to advertise the event in other regions.
‘‘We want to make this thing big and pull people in from outside the region, to stay in our accommodation and spend their money here.’’
The Black Seeds have just finished touring on the release of their new album Fabric.
Havelock Mussel and Seafood Festival co-ordinator Hans Neilson is working on some new twists on an old favourite.
The Black Seeds are the headlining act at the Havelock Mussel and Seafood Festival in 2018.